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Furman hosts Islam Awareness Week

Furman University will host Islam Awareness Week on campus Oct. 22-Nov. 2 as the university addresses the fundamental challenges related to the topic of Islam in America.

Islam Awareness Week is free and open to the public. The recognition, which takes place over 10 days, includes opportunities for the Greenville Community to learn more about Islam with events focusing on various aspects of the American Islamic experience.

Among the speakers are Zoharah Simmons, professor of religion at the University of Florida; Edward Mitchell, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations, Georgia Chapter; and Iman Omar Shaheed, Columbia, South Carolina. A schedule follows:

Islam Awareness Week at Furman University

Monday, Oct. 22, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.—“Meet Your Muslim Classmate,” presented by Furman students, meet on the library steps of James B. Duke Library

Monday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m.—“Muslim Students in Southern Colleges,” presented by Furman students, Watkins Room, Trone Student Center

Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.—“An African American Journey Through Racism, Religion, and Reconciliation,” Imam Omar Shaheed, Patrick Lecture Hall (Plyler Hall 216), Townes Science Center

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.—“400 Years of Islam in America,” Zoharah Simmons, Watkins Room, Trone Student Center

Thursday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.—“The American Dream in Light of the Travel Ban,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Watkins Room, Trone Student Center

The series of events is sponsored by numerous Furman departments and organizations including the Department of Religion; Department of Politics and International Affairs; Middle East and Islamic studies minor; Muslim Student Association; Office of Spiritual Life; African American and Diaspora Cultures Minor; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Student League for Black Culture; No Lost Generation; and the Kendrick-Poerschke Lecture Fund for Interfaith Understanding.

“There is a fundamental lack of knowledge about Islam in America,” said Furman Professor of Politics and International Affairs Akan Malici. “Many of us don’t know that the first Muslims arrived in America as part of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And many also don’t know that some of our founding fathers had real interest in Islam and Muslims.”

Said Furman Religion Professor Alfons Teipen, “Thomas Jefferson, for example, famously owned a copy of the Qur’an to better understand Islam and its followers, and he insisted that Muslims be included in his vision of American religious pluralism.” Malici added, “Today, unfortunately, many politicians, commentators, and the media are contributing to a hostile image of Islam and this is bad not only for Muslims, but also for our American social fabric.”

For more information, contact Alfons Teipen, Department of Religion, at 864-294-3310 and, or Akan Malici, Department of Politics and International Affairs, at 864-294-3576 and

Last updated October 16, 2018
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Clinton Colmenares
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